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Wednesday June 12, 2024

MP slams Australian authorities for caving into Indian pressure over Sikhs voting

By Murtaza Ali Shah
June 07, 2023

SYDNEY: Greens Senator David Shoebridge has slammed the Australian authorities for the cancellation of three venues booked for Khalistan Referendum voting in Sydney. The lawmaker has raised serious concerns that a foreign country – the India government – was able to use its pressure on the Australian authorities through various means in order to deny the local Sikhs their fundamental right of voting – a right protected by the Australian laws.

Senator David Shoebridge spoke out after three venues were cancelled, booked for Khalistan Referendum by pro-Khalistan Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) yet the voting went ahead and over 31000 Sikhs took part in 4 July 2023 voting on the edges of a hastily booked centre in Sydney. Senator David Shoebridge visited the voting venue to express his support for the Australian Sikhs and their democratic right. He said “I am here to make a stand for the Australian Sikhs, to express support for their basic democratic human right to express themselves peacefully through the ballot box. There have been dozens and dozens of Khalistan Referendum events in the UK, Canada, Europe and this is the third one in Australia. Sydney is the only place where venue after venue has been cancelled after political pressure was used.”

The lawmaker said that the Australian authorities were involved in breaching rights of Sikhs. He said “when we give into that kind of political pressure to prevent people peacefully expressing their will at the ballot box then that’s a fundamental attack on democracy. I am standing here with the Sikh community to show solidarity and to stand up for their fundamental rights – the right to exercise your will at the ballot box in a democratic country like Australia. The right to vote is a fundamental right in Australia. I think it’s deeply upsetting that this has happened.”

The Australian MP said the Sikhs were right to seek answers and justice over the 1984 Golden Temple Amritsar massacre. Australian Sikhs alleged that extremist Australian Hindutva groups aligned with India’s Bhartya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtraya Sewak Singh (RSS) backed by the Indian govt were behind the cancellation of three venues but failed in their concerted effort to stop Sydney Khalistan Referendum voting. Australian radical Hindutva groups ran a massive campaign to stop the Sydney Khalistan Referendum from going ahead, using Indian diplomatic power, mass emailing and raising false security alarms and spectres of violent terrorism.